Orange County California is a hot bed for bugs. This past winter was one of the wettest in a few years which will mean one thing this summer… bugs, bugs and more bugs. Mosquitoes and other disease-spreading insects could breed in record numbers over the next few months. Experts list the following as some that you need to watch out for.
Zika in California
The California Department of Public Health recently released an emergency warning that the two mosquito species listed above have now been found in 10 California counties including Fresno, Kern, Imperial, Los Angeles, Madera, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Mateo and Tulare. Some experts are concerned that the West Coast may have a potential epidemic of the Zika virus that the two mosquitoes can carry.
Generally the hardest hit areas for West Nile virus are inland urban areas of Southern California. One reason for this is an abundance of drained pools that have storm water in the bottom. Mosquitoes only need a thimble size amount of water to breed, and these pools are the perfect setting. Vector control crews are working to locate unused pools and stock mosquito-eating fish in them. Mosquito fish are only used in water sources that do not connect to natural water bodies because they are not native fish.
In the battle against the bugs, vector control crews are monitoring areas with several types of traps. The trap pictured on the left is a carbon dioxide trap that is used to attract females. The trap emits carbon dioxide, just like we do when we exhale, and the bugs come to it seeking a source of blood. They are trapped and tested for disease.
Spreading the virus
The West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in New York in 1999. Since then it has spread to all 50 states, Canada and Mexico. The virus first reached California in 2002.
Birds infected by mosquitoes act as carriers and bring the virus to new areas. Horses and other animals can carry the disease as well.
If you see a dead bird, particularly a crow or raven, notify your local vector control or the California Department of Health Services on the location. Some counties have areas on their vector control websites that explain how to report dead birds.
If the bird is suitable for testing
Wear gloves and double bag it.
Risk of contracting West Nile virus from a dead bird or squirrel is low to nonexistent.
Put on porch with label, under a plastic bucket to protect it from cats. If your bird is not one that can be tested you can throw it away in an outdoor garbage can.
WATCH OUT FOR THESE GUYS
Lyme disease: Black-legged tick, but ticks are related to spiders. Black-legged ticks are the primary spreaders of Lyme disease. Orange County Vector Control District has tested over 3,000 black-legged ticks since 1988, and only one was positive for Lyme disease.
Spotted fever: Other ticks, such as the Pacific Coast tick and the American dog tick, are common in Southern California, and both species are active all year. Both species are very competent vectors of spotted fever. Spotted fever can be fatal, but is often cured with antibiotics.
Many species feed on decaying organic matter and waste and have been responsible for transmission of bacterial and protozoan pathogens including: E. coli and salmonella. In addition, they have been known to transmit parasitic round worms and tape worms.
Imported red fire ants
Vector control crews are concerned about these ants in agricultural areas and public areas such as parks and schools. The ants have jaws than can bite, and females have a stinger that delivers venom.
If you detect these insects, do not try to treat them on your own. Contact local vector control.
Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District